Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Ishmael, a persecuted Christian in Sudan, receives death threats

June 28, 2023 by Abigail Hart in Persecuted Christians in Sudan

Ishmael grew up Muslim in Darfur. During a civil war 20 years ago, he and his family stayed at a camp for displaced people. It was during their several-year stay in this camp that Ishmael interacted with secret Christian believers. Their faith and love for Jesus made a lasting impression on him.

Ishmael received a Bible from a local house church and the word of God began to pull at his heart. In February 2022, he made the decision to make Jesus the Lord and Savior of his life.

But he didn’t know the trouble that was soon to come …

“I did not know my faith in Jesus would make me unwanted among my own people … I was sharing my new faith in Christ with all my Muslim friends, not knowing there was a price to be paid. One day, they all turned against me.”

Ishmael’s wife warned him if he didn’t denounce his Christian faith that she would divorce him. His wife’s older brother called him an infidel, a disparaging word used to describe someone who is unfaithful and not accepting of Islam. “You should not stay with this infidel anymore, because he is no longer a Muslim.” He was then disowned and abandoned by his extended family.

Ishmael dealt with great loneliness and lived with a fear of being attacked or killed because of his faith in Jesus.

In June 2022, his in-laws came to him and demanded he say Muslim prayers with them. “Wash your face and hands and pray the Islamic prayers with us.” But Ishmael refused, explaining he’s a Christian and won’t practice Islam anymore. His brother-in-law then called him with an ultimatum: “I am giving you two days to leave Christianity and come back to Islam, or we will forcefully divorce our sister from you. We will get rid of you if you are not careful.”

Standing by his faith, Ishmael didn’t renounce Jesus. His wife then divorced him on the basis that he had become a Christian.

At this point, Ishmael went into hiding in a nearby town and stayed with Christian friends for three months. Even while hiding, radical Muslims monitored him and called him with death threats. With his life in danger, in January 2023, Ishmael fled Sudan. After moving to a nearby country, he spent the next six months taking Bible classes and going through discipleship training, where he greatly increased his knowledge and faith in Christ.

Ishmael’s favorite verse is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” With even more fervor for the gospel, Ishmael desires to share his testimony and bring Muslims in Darfur to salvation. The persecution that he faced in Sudan was painful and challenging, but it only made his faith stronger.

Ishmael’s testimony is inspiring and shows he’s a true disciple of Jesus, choosing to follow Christ above all others.

Will you join us in praying for Ishmael and his prayer requests?

“After I finish this discipleship course, I’m not sure where I will go. Accommodation is a challenge for us refugees. There is no family that I can return to in Sudan, as the country is at war now. Pray that I find a place to live and for God’s protection.

“Pray for my family members, that the Lord will reveal Himself to them, so they may be saved through Jesus Christ. Pray for my in-laws, that the Lord will visit them and bring them to saving faith.

“And pray for peace to prevail in Sudan and Darfur, so that many churches can be planted.”

*Representative name and photo used to preserve security

About The Author
Tim Dustin is a staff writer for Global Christian Relief, a nonprofit Christian ministry that works to strengthen persecuted believers and raise awareness regarding Christian persecution. For more information, visit our website at

Stand with suffering Christians around the world

Stand with suffering Christians around the world

Make a gift today to strengthen and support your persecuted family, like Ishmael. Your compassionate contribution could bless hurting Christians with emergency relief, spiritual support, income assistance and community aid. We’ll put your gift to work where it’s needed most, so vulnerable believers can get back on their feet—spreading the gospel and advancing the Great Commission. Will you join us in our mission?